15 December 2006

End of term

I am looking forward to spending 3 weeks at home without the travelling, but I have to write my Research & Communications essay now. How to demonstrate discovering how to blow or thinking about molds (as in the pic) is something I haven't solved yet.

12 December 2006

Riedel wine glasses

Last night we went to the most amazing wine-tasting dinner party I have ever been to. There were three flights of wines -- 7 or 8 different bottles in each flight and we drank most of them out of these Riedel Chianti glasses. One of 126 differently-shaped bowls from the company, all scientifically tested for the ideal delivery of the bouquet to the nose and the liquid to the tongue. I think this counts as one of the most pleasurable aspects of my research. Yes, I think you can say it was information-gathering. Certainly the other guests (8 of us altogether) were hugely knowledgeable and we talked a bit about wine-glass shapes. The finale was a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem 1937 - totally delicious. I can't believe from never having tasted it before, I've now had two samplings in one year. Other astonishing wines too - Chablis, Nuits St Georges, Gaillac, Viognier; can't remember what they all were but I am hoping our marvellous hosts will send me the labels.

08 December 2006

Father Bear, Mother Bear & Baby Bear

A kind of a matching set (the blue ones) which I could develop as this sort of heavy-base style is something I can do without an assistant.

But I went to Patrick Stern's closing down sale yesterday and he blows the green ones on his own. I asked him how he did it. Research? I think so.

07 December 2006

Tuition at last

Really enjoyable 'tutorial' with my supervisor -- I had asked to have it in the workshop instead of an MA-progress one. He gave me a lot of time and it was really useful. I could feel myself soaking up everything he said and it making a huge difference when I tried again. We even did a blown foot together. Such fun! A few more of these and progress would be noticeable. I'm not saying these 2 (out of the 4 that evening that got into the lehr) are any less wobbly than others, but the bowls are better, thinner and more centred - done faster and mostly in one gather. So despair not!

05 December 2006

Inspiring the young

Had lunch today with two of the second years -- both gorgeous young girls -- who said I was an inspiration to them. That they thought I was decidedly getting better and that it showed them that it's never too late to learn something new. I suppose they had thought originally what was this senior personage doing in the hot-shop. But, they said, they'd watched me systematically practising cup shapes and been impressed. Well now! Then we talked about the madness of the glass-blower and agreed that you had to be a bit eccentric to be doing it at all. Such a capricious material, they agreed, and for them too, the challenge of trying to get it to do what you want is seductive.

01 December 2006


Yesterday I tried my first attempt at assembling a goblet from parts I'd made before and put in the 'garage' (as it's known). Needless to say, it didn't work. Allegedly, my punty was rubbish. Anyhow, I shall try again now I know what to do. I practised and practised punties after that and got a glimmer of light about what I have been doing wrong. It is like doing scales - the knowledge has to go into the fingers; it can't be intellectual. So here are some of the wineglass bowls I have made so far. Let's try attaching the other bits now.